A DISABLED data expert from Northampton will be handed £25,000 in compensation after a judge found he was refused a job in the NHS because of his Asperger’s syndrome.
Although Dale Morgan, aged 28, was already working on a temporary contract as an information analyst, he was offered the permanent job by an NHS Northamptonshire interview panel in 2009 before the offer was later withdrawn.
A tribunal judge has now found that, despite Mr Morgan discussing his Asperger’s in the interview, the health bosses were influenced by an unfavourable reference from a previous employer that mentioned his condition. As a result, the trust has been found liable at an employment tribunal of discriminating against Mr Morgan on the grounds of his disability.
Mr Morgan said: “After more than two years of stress in dealing with this case, I am relieved that the tribunal has found in my favour.
“After the job offer was withdrawn, I attempted to open a dialogue with the trust to ascertain why this was the case.
“But they completely shut down and wouldn’t speak to me. With all the resources at the trust’s disposal, I am shocked that they chose to handle the situation in the way they did.
“I hope that by speaking up about this it will help other disabled job seekers who have or will face similar discrimination.”
NHS Northamptonshire was found to have failed to make reasonable adjustments for Mr Morgan’s Asperger’s syndrome, which is a condition on the autistic spectrum.
Paul Quinn, of the law firm Stephensons, which represented Mr Morgan, said: “Instead of unswervingly adhering to their own ‘two satisfactory references policy’ the trust should have also given consideration to their own guidance on this issue. If they had, they then could have considered a whole host of adjustments that were not likely to be expensive, time consuming or difficult to arrange.
“It is unfortunate that an NHS trust would discriminate against an individual based on their disability and this cannot be ignored.”
An NHS Northamptonshire spokesperson said: “NHS Northamptonshire is committed to equality and diversity. This commitment goes far beyond just meeting statutory obligations.
“The lessons learned from this case have already been incorporated in the way we continue to deliver our equality and diversity commitment.”